Kanaan: Despite 2013 win, Indy 500 gets harder every year (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Tony Kanaan is an Indianapolis 500 champion, and entering the 2014 race, that’s the one major bit of news that’s different than this time last year.

All the media events that have followed since last May 26 have cast “TK’s” elusive ‘500 victory in different spotlights.

The biggest thing about it is, it’s real, and it’s eternal.

“I feel like nobody can take it away from me,” Kanaan said during IMS media day on Thursday. “I’d run for the next 30 years here if I can. It’s a magical place. If from today until the day I retired, God knows when, if I never won here again, OK. But, in 2013, I did.”

As TK goes for the encore in 2014, there’s several different elements.

For one, he’s now in the classic red No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, albeit a car that’s now adorned in a special silver livery this week to commemorate the 25-year partnership between Target and the team. He switched from KV Racing Technology in the offseason.

He’s no longer directly working with longtime engineer Eric Cowdin, but is now with Chris Simmons, who guided Dario Franchitti to a pair of ‘500 wins in 2010 and 2012.

And Franchitti, Kanaan’s good friend, admitted to him last year that the older they get, the harder it gets.

“It never gets easier,” Kanaan said. “Because me and Dario, have been racing together for so long, you can kind of predict more or less will happen.

“You think it gets easier. But the older you get, the more nervous we got. Last year it’s just me and that conversation; Dario’s my best friend. I wouldn’t tell this to others. But I’m freaking nervous. I have a butterfly like my first go-kart race. I ask, ‘Does that happen?’ And he’s like, ‘Every year, it gets worse.’

“But that moment is the best feeling. You want to get in the car because the moment of anticipation disappears. Then it’s time to do your job.”

He’ll start 16th today, as he seeks back-to-back wins. No one has pulled off that feat since countryman Helio Castroneves, in 2001 and 2002.

Kanaan’s a definite favorite, and led Friday’s Carb Day practice.

“We worked really hard to make it up for our qualifying,” he said. “We have great people back in engineering and we showed it a bit this week.”

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

HUSTLING HELIO: Castroneves hunting for 2021 rides in IMSA, IndyCar

Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.